SHEDDEN MAKES IT THREE
Honda man battles to third BTCC title
Gordon Shedden knew a third British Touring Car Championship crown was a long way away when he was more than 50 points adrift at the halfway stage of the 2016 campaign.
As he climbed on to the rostrum for third place at Brands Hatch after race three, the resurrection was complete.
He’d done it. He had turned around an 11-point deficit coming into the last round and snatched the trophy ahead of Sam Tordoff, who fought gamely in his WSR BMW 125i M Sport.
The opening two races of the day had provided a huge chink of light for Team BMR Subaru man Colin Turkington, who banked two wins to move to within 10 points of the top.
However, the Northern Irishman limped home 12th in race three, handing third in the standings to winner Mat Jackson’s Motorbase Ford Focus.
Shedden’s team-mate Matt Neal was ruled out of the title battle after a race two shunt stopped him taking part in race three on medical grounds, and he finished sixth in the points, behind Rob Collard’s WSR BMW 125i M Sport.
But they had all been put in the shadows by Shedden, the new MSA British Touring Car champion.
Where: Longfield, Kent First BTCC round: 1958 Lap length: 2.433 miles Qualifying lap record: Mat Jackson 1m30.685s (96.59mph) 2015 Race lap record: Colin Turkington 1m31.372s (95.87mph) 2016
Team BMR Subaru Levorg
The two-time champion was on strong form all weekend, but was outdone by team-mate Turkington in the opening race as he was bottled up in third position. Played the team game in race two (eventually) to help his sister car, but weight in the finale restricted his pace. Still a strong weekend though.
“A do or die” pass in the dying moments of the Ginetta GT4 Supercup finale secured Tom Wrigley the title by three points ahead of rival Will Burns.
A 33-point lead for Wrigley, accounting for dropped scores, was slashed down to a mere seven by the final race with Burns pressuring Wrigley in all three encounters.
Burns took first blood in the opener, with his pole key after Wrigley could only qualify 10th in a wet session.
Mark Davies initially took the lead, but Burns responded well to win ahead of Davies and Jack Mitchell.
Wrigley finished seventh as he struggled with a wet set-up. Not only had he lost crucial points, but he would start there in race two.
The wet track worked against both Burns and Wrigley, but Tom Hibbert’s gamble on a full wet set-up paid dividends as he won the second race.
“The F4 drivers were a lot slower than they should have been in sections before we went out,” he said. “That meant it was clearly still wet so I took the risk.”
Hibbert overcame two safety car periods as the weather worsened, beating Reece Somerfield and Carl Boardley.
Meanwhile, Burns fell to fifth after starting on pole while Wrigley finished eighth after damage to his car’s rear.
With seven points splitting them in the finale, Wrigley knew he had to follow Burns across the line to win the title.
Boardley took the easiest of wins, as Burns and Wrigley’s second and third places decided the championship.
The pair had run third and fourth, but when Mitchell was passed by Burns shortly after Boardley took the fastest lap and points reward from Wrigley, Burns was moments from the title.
With the pressure on, Wrigley made an all or nothing dive down the inside of Mitchell at Paddock Hill Bend and just managed to follow Burns through for third and seal the title by three points.